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Friday, September 9, 2016

Flash Fiction- What is it? Why do it?

Flash Fiction- What Is It? Why Do It?

Hello and welcome to another visit with myself, talking about the craft of writing, authors' mishaps, and inspiration. I appreciate you taking the time to visit with me. It makes my day. And I hope you'll find today's post informative.

Blue Mascara
     I wiped the back of my hands over my stinging face, then glanced down at my now blue hands and sighed. “I’ll never wear blue mascara again. Stupid Kathy. Why did you suggest it? The whole thing was your fault.”
     With a huff, I sat on the stone bench next to Kathy. The cold seeped into my dark and wet ripped jeans. Replaying the events over in my mind, my chest ached. Tonight had been my first date with Tyler. We’d met last week and had agreed to meet at Spanky’s ballroom. I pulled the hem of my shirt up and wiped at my throbbing face.
     Since my mom wouldn’t let me date until I was eighteen, we’d told her I was staying at Kathy’s house. We had Kathy’s mom drop us off. Tyler was supposed to take us home. The evening had been planned to a “T”. But plans have a way of changing.
     I stood and grabbed the shovel laying on the ground. Bent back over the hole, I continued to dig as blue tears tracked down my cheeks. My breath labored with each pitch of the dirt. Do cracked ribs feel this way? I wondered.
     “This looks deep enough, don’t you think Kathy?” I dragged the limp body over toward the hole, dumped it in. Bending down, I brushed the hair from Kathy’s now sagging and bloodied face. “That’ll teach you. Tyler’s mine.” I screamed as the first load of dirt fell into the hole.

Were you surprised by the ending? Blue Mascara is an example of flash fiction, which I wrote a couple of years ago. I enjoy this type of writing because I am a tight writer. I started writing poetry where words had to be carefully chosen. But what is flash fiction?

Flash fiction is writing a short (150-1000 word) piece about an image or topic. Many authors use this to spark creativity while others use them as jumping off points for stories. A few author friends have taken a flash fiction 500 word piece and turned it into a whole book.

Flash Fiction is more fun doing it in a group, where each story is unique and takes on the flavor of the writer. One of my author friends, used to host a Friday Flash Fiction on her blog each week and post the different authors' stories. It was fun to read the stories and see how different each of our stories were. I liken it to going shopping with another person. Each one tries on the same dress but how they style it makes the dresses unique.

So next time you are stuck or in a rut, give flash fiction a try! For the first time, try about 500 words as a minimum (and realize you will have to only do a scene not the whole book).  Here's a photo to get you started....

What would you write about this image? Post your flash fiction in the comments and everyone will be able to see and share! There aren't any wrong answers! Just write!

Here's a little sneak peek at my current WIP (work in progress)... stay tuned for Coming Home to arrive this fall.

     Jackson tugged his jacket tighter around his shoulders and wrapped his bandanna around his neck. The wind had picked up sending a chill through his bones. July in the mountains was very different from summer in Ohio. He’d have been in beach shorts and t-shirts, hanging out at Lakeview, and checking out the bikinis on the sand. Not in jeans and flannel, on top of a mountain.

     He inhaled, catching the scent of grass, his horse, and the herd in front of him. Twenty-six heifers and their calves fattening up to replace the older cows which were headed off to the meat plant. The circle of life. Never get attached to the food. Jackson learned the lesson his year in 4-H when his prize sow became someone’s rib dinner. It had felt like losing a pet, but he never named another animal again.

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Until next month...take care and enjoy a good book!


Charmaine Gordon said...

I always wondered about Flash Fiction and now , thanks to you, I know. Nifty, Melissa, and something to think about. Poignant about naming a horse or calf and later thinking of it as someone's rib dinner. But so it is.


Charmaine Gordon-your friend who had a bad fall and is still having trouble.

Melissa Keir said...

I'm sorry Charmaine that you are hurting after a fall. Those aren't fun. It can take a while to heal because of things unseen. I love how flash fiction gives you a chance to flex your writing in a short time/space. All the best with getting better!

Daryl Devore said...

I've written a couple of flash fictions. They do tighten your writing up.

Tina Donahue said...

Interesting concept, Melissa. Thanks for a great post.

Judy Baker said...

I didn't know about flash fiction, Melissa. Now I know I do flash fiction. When I get stuck in my writing, I move away from my ms and take a blank page and write a scene - this always jump-starts me and gets me out of the rut I'm stuck in. Thanks for the post.

Melissa Keir said...

Daryl- A lot of people who have to write short for novellas say that they struggle with the tightness. Flash fiction helps you work on it. :)

Tina- Thanks for visiting. I love these type of writing activities.

Judy- They do really help keep the juices flowing! I've even sold a few flash fiction pieces for anthologies!

jean hart stewart said...

Interesting, but not for me.....Guess I'm too wordy to attempt it...

Melissa Keir said...

Thanks Jean. It's a great exercise and remember you are writing a scene. :)

N. N. Light said...

I love writing flash fiction. You're right, it does tighten up your writing.

I did a flash fiction about a young woman returning home and falling in love with her childhood best friend. It was the jumping off point for Planting the Seeds of Love.

It works best when you have a writing prompt or image. I have a glimmer of a conversation for the pic you chose and will return to share it. :)

Loved your flash fiction, Melissa. Surprise ending.

Paris said...

Flash fiction sounds like fun! If nothing else, it might be just the writing prompt that would get me moving on a new story :)

Cara Marsi said...

Very interesting, Melissa. Flash fiction is a great idea for stirring the creative juices. I love your flash fiction story with the twist ending. Love your excerpt too. Can't really tackle flash fiction for the picture you posted. All I could think about is she's mad at him because he bought the wrong size sheet. That's it. Got nothin' else.

Melissa Keir said...

Lol Cara! It is fun to play with images and see what's going on. As authors we watch people and try to guess their stories! This is much the same!

Paris.. .it's amazing at giving you a creative start!

Mrs. N. I love how tight it makes my writing. I zone in on the senses to capture everything.

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